Maharaja Movie Review


2 Hr 45 Mins   |   Crime Thriller   |   14-06-2024

Cast - Vijay Sethupathi, Anurag Kashyap, Abhirami, Mamta Mohandas, Natarajan Subramanian, Bharathiraja and others

Director - Nithilan Saminathan

Producer - Sudhan Sundaram, Jagadish Palaniswamy

Banner - Passion Studios banner

Music - B Ajaneesh Lokanath

Maharaja is notably ‘Makkal Selvan’ Vijay Sethupathi’s 50th film. The film is written by Nithilan Saminathan and Raam Murali while it is directed by Nithilan. Maharaja is Nithilan’s second film. He had previously directed Kurungu Bommai, a crime thriller, back in 2017. The film has already been getting some buzz for Vijay Sethupathi’s rugged avatar. The actor has also mentioned in an interview that Maharaja has a lot of twists like one of his earlier cult films Pizza, which has also added on to Maharaja’s intrigue significantly.


Vijay Sethupathi plays Maharaja, a humble barber from Chennai. His wife dies in a tragic accident, since then he raises his daughter Jothi as a single father with Lakshmi, a very special thing in his house. His life revolves around his home and the cutting saloon he works in.

All hell breaks loose when Jothi, a 15-year old budding athlete, goes to sports camp in Coimbatore for a week. Maharaja gets assaulted in his house by three thieves and Lakshmi gets stolen. When he reports this to the police, they don’t take him seriously but they agree later when Maharaja offers to bribe the officers in lakhs to find Lakshmi. We are also introduced to Selva (Anurag Kashyap), an electrician who moonlights as a thief in the night.

Who is Lakshmi? Did Selva have anything to do with stealing Lakshmi? Why is Maharaja so determined to find Lakshmi? What will the cops do to help Maharaja find Lakshmi? These questions form the crux of the story.


The film is aided by strong performances all around. Maharaja is an interesting character. While he comes off as timid, he is extremely determined and strong. He will go to any length to get what he wants. Vijay Sethupathi plays this character to perfection, communicating his timidity with his body while displaying his strength through his intense eyes. In the later parts of the film, those same eyes show great sadness.

Bollywood director Anurag Kashyap, who had previously played villain in the Nayanthara film Imaikaa Nodigal (Anjali CBI in Telugu), plays the key antagonist of Maharaja. Unlike most thieves who are psychopaths, Selva seems to have gotten into his profession to provide for his family. While he will not hesitate to kill anybody, he is also shown as a devoted family man. Anurag is convincing and menacing in equal measure.

Cinematographer-turned-actor Natarajan Subramanian (Natty) plays a corrupt police officer who agrees to help Maharaja search for Lakshmi for a huge sum of money. He is wily and entertaining, often reflecting greed, ego and doubt in his performance.

Abhirami plays Selva’s wife while Mamta Mohandas plays Jothi’s coach Asifa. While both of them do not have major roles, they provide adequate support to the rest of the cast with their presence.


The production values of Maharaja are very realistic. Maharaja lives with his daughter in a pink house outside the city. While there are fields in front of the house, there are tall skyscrapers in the back, providing a contrast. This is just one of the examples where we see the film go out of its way to make its setting appear close to reality. The film also benefits from the cinematography of Dinesh Purushothaman. Editor Philomin Raj has one of the harder jobs amongst the film’s departments, and he does full justice to the job. The film also gets a massy tone and feel due to the background music provided by B Ajaneesh Lokanath

Thumbs up

Vijay Sethupathi

Screenplay & Top class writing

Twists in the story

Thumbs down

Lag in second half


It is very hard to break down the film in a review because one of Maharaja’s biggest plus points is its narrative twists. That said, the film is also way more than its story treatment.

Throughout the runtime of Maharaja, there is subtle-but-sustained social commentary on issues ranging from the divide between the haves and have nots and the corruption in the police system to the cost of violence.

Though the film is a crime thriller, there is a lot of comedy that makes the audience burst in laughter. Vijay Sethupathi gets a handful of crowdpleasing mass moments.

There is also some really graphic action in the film that can be satisfying for some people to watch while it can be disturbing or disgusting for others.

The film’s real winner is its writing. Maharaja is a fine example of how one can make an otherwise very simple story extremely exciting and full of drama with its treatment and the exact style of storytelling.

The writers of the film have also put in some great attention to detail. While we do not realise this in the beginning, every scene in the film, especially in the first half, is a finely laid set-up with a richly rewarded pay-off in the end. This keeps us invested in the story. It drags at few parts in second half but its fine.

The twists in the story are things the audience does not expect at all, and yet it is not a gimmick. There is a reason why the story is told the way it is told and the overall storytelling leaves the audience with a lot of wonder. The final parts of the film are more sad than exciting and the audience guess by then how the movie is going to end but that is not that big of a problem.

Bottomline: Hats-off Raja

Rating: 3/5